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Organisations leveraging Disaster-Recovery-As-A-Service to mitigate risk

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By Bakshish Dutta, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Druva

The rise of virtualisation as a business tool has transformed how organisations function today. Businesses are liberated from the constraints imposed by the need to keep their data within arm’s reach by decoupling it from the underlying physical hardware. Now, it can be stored anywhere in the world and is operational and accessible to anyone. However, even though data is more mobile than ever, many organisations do not have a comprehensive plan in place for how to recover their data in the event of a natural disaster, ransomware, or other unexpected circumstance.

As cybercrime and security breaches become more sophisticated, organisations must define their data recovery and protection strategies. The ability to handle incidents quickly can reduce downtime and minimise financial and reputational harm. A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) also assists organisations in meeting compliance requirements while also providing a clear path to recovery.

A DRP is a documented, structured approach that describes how an organisation can resume operations quickly following an unplanned incident. A disaster recovery plan is an essential component of a business continuity plan (BCP). It refers to aspects of an organisation that rely on a working information technology infrastructure. A disaster recovery plan aims to assist an organisation in resolving data loss and recovering system functionality so that it can continue to operate in the aftermath of an incident, even if at a low level.

How is data recovery different than backup?

Disaster recovery is not the same as the usual backup. Many backup vendors claim to provide DR as part of their solution, but they are insufficient unless they are optimized to provide fast recovery of all enterprise data and applications. A simple backup app may only update during off-peak hours (typically at night) and may store data on legacy media such as tapes in remote locations that are difficult to access. If you need immediate access to mission-critical data, such as after a ransomware attack, it could take weeks. A backup/restore solution that includes effective DR, on the other hand, stores data in one or more separate locations. Most importantly, the enterprise can quickly and easily restore operations, including spinning up VMs off-premises or in the cloud to run applications to ensure business continuity. Companies that implement a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy can achieve a recovery point objective (RPO) of less than 24 hours and a recovery time objective (RTO) of minutes, recovering any amount of data from a single folder to an entire virtual machine.

Implementing a DR strategy:

On-premises infrastructure was used for backup and disaster recovery (DR), but the expenditure limited DR to only use the most crucial applications. These costs have been dramatically reduced as a result of the cloud transition, allowing more applications to be included in DR planning. Effective disaster recovery, on the other hand, necessitates remote capabilities, which are typically provided by the cloud.

Recovery strategies define an organisation’s plans for responding to an incident, whereas disaster recovery plans describe how the organisation should respond. Recovery plans are derived from recovery strategies. In determining a recovery strategy, organisations should consider issues such as budget, insurance coverage, resources, technology, data and data storage, suppliers, and so on.

Effective DRaaS implements technologies such as global virtual data deduplication to ensure that only a single copy of each file is kept. This can result in bandwidth savings of up to 80% and ensures that even remote office locations with suboptimal WAN (Wide Area Network) speeds can be effectively protected. Companies can take advantage of layered storage by leveraging the efficiencies of public cloud vendors such as AWS, with data sorted into hot, warm, and cold storage based on retention and recovery requirements. This allows for long-term storage at a low cost.

Designing an effective strategy for D-R-A-A-S:

In designing a risk management strategy, once you’ve identified the critical components of your virtualized landscape, the industry impact of any interruption to it, and the probability of disaster, the question becomes, What can we do to mitigate the damage? This is the point at which you must choose an effective approach for backup and disaster recovery of the critical data of your organisation. There are multiple strategies we can approach when it comes to mitigating risk like RPO (how much data you can afford to lose), RTO (how quickly your business needs to be back in operation), Data residency laws (where your data can legally be stored), and the budget for implementation.

Considering these strategies will help organisations to calculate the ROI of competing vendors and select the one that best fits your organisation’s requirements. The alternative is meticulous preparation and planning. Companies that have anticipated the inevitable and, rather than running scared, have confronted the threats and devised a strategy to overcome them will be far more resilient and profitable in the long run.

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